Easy Solutions To Stressful, Messy Troubles
That Awful Mess
Let’s address the biggest issue with potty training first… the mess. I consider this the biggest issue because after potty training 2 1/2 children (stilling working with one little) and witnessing at least half a dozen other toddlers in training, it seems like the one thing that makes a parent want to give up quicker than anything else is knowing you’ll be cleaning up ‘accidents’ non-stop. And I mean NON-STOP.
Here are some easy tools you’ll want in order to combat the war zone that is potty training:
I can’t tell you how many times I have looked at a mess and thought, “I am not touching that.” Get some throw away gloves, the kind you can rip off the way cool doctors do on TV when they’ve had enough and storm out of the room. (foreshadowing anyone?)
If you don’t get anything else on this list, at the very least, get yourself a handheld sprayer! Some attach to your bathtub or sink, some to the toilet itself, either way, you’ll want one of these when you’re in the middle of cleaning up your child, the floor, their underwear, the sheets… I’ll stop there.
Ah.. this might be the most genius thing my husband has ever suggested. At first I had no idea the difference it would make, having a kid friendly seat that was just a part of the toilet. No extra washing, no need to find a safe/appealing place to store some awkward seat cover. No, just an easy flip flop seat right there, ready to go.
4. Puppy Pads
As silly as it might sound, these bad boys come in pretty handy! From lining your toddlers car seat to creating a path to the potty like some twisted version of the ‘yellow brick road.’ I went through more of these than I care to admit and I’d do it all again if only for my sanity.
5. Tube Socks
We’ve all been there, you’re out and about, enjoying the day when all of a sudden, “Mom! I gotta pee!” Oh no, do you rush home? Of course not, too risky. You run to the nearest public restroom only to find a place that looks like it could have been used in one of those Saw movies. Yikes.
Thank goodness you brought some coverage! Pull out those tube socks, slip them over each side of that germ ridden seat (maybe even pack a can of Lysol?) and take comfort in knowing your babies bare bottom is protected.
6. Your Toilet
Stay with me. Yes, I know your toilet is part of your potty training journey (Duh!) but what I am referring to here is in regards to cleaning up messes, the #2 kind. You do not want to toss poo into your washer. If you’re unable to run outside, grab a hose and spray those undies down (for those of us familiar with apartment living, wink wink) you’ll need to rinse off soiled clothing in the toilet before you toss them in the wash as much as possible. I recommend buying some washing machine cleaner during this part of parenting as well. Or better yet, check out some awesome DIY clearners on Pinterest.
Firm Yet Patient
For this next section, we’ll address some of my favorite tricks, learned the hard way of course. Over all, keep it simple. If you manage to find success with one of these, don’t feel like you need to try them all! There is no ‘one size fits all’ to potty training so listen to your littles, address their needs but be firm in your style and chosen method. A simple, “We will try again later.” doesn’t mean “Okay, you don’t have to learn today.” You know your child needs to learn to use the toilet, you know they might struggle and even fight you on it, but potty training really is no different than, “Eat your veggies,” “Brush your teeth,” “Read a book, no TV!”
Your Child Will Learn To Trust You More
Littles need to learn that you have their best interests at heart, they need to learn that using the toilet is good for them. Children want to please their parents in the end, they want to do what they’re being told is right, though they may not express that in the beginning. Its all about how we, the parent, approach these lessons. Stay calm, but be firm. Easier said than done, I know. So here are a few things that can make the whole experience easier and even enjoyable.
Prep your children for potty training even before you start guiding them towards the toilet. Get some toilet training videos, books and games. Make the toilet a daily subject in a way that brings them joy. It might sound silly, but you’re creating an environmental reaction. You want them to like using the toilet so that they will be eager to learn how to master it.
2. Invite Friends and Family
If you know other families who are training, or have recently completed potty training, invite them over! Let your little see how it is done, not just how you tell them its done. Children are all about doing what their peers do. While this might not always be a blessing, you can surely use it to your advantage!
3. Buy Underwear They Want To Wear
From characters to fabric, you’ll need to consider what makes your child comfortable more than ever before. After all, potty training is all about pulling them out of their comfort zone. Everything they have known about bathroom habits is being tossed out the window, their now told how, where and when to use the bathroom. Let alone learning the signals from their little bodies. Make sure you’ll giving them comfort when you can, be it a fun reward when they are successful or their favorite cartoon character, color or type of underwear.
Target Kids Character Underwear / Screenshot via Target.com
My favorite all-in-one guide to training:
This book was a life saver! Just as the title suggests, its a commonsense guide to potty training, without any added nonsense. You can easily skim through or skip to needed chapters without missing a beat. I personally have read through it on more than one occation, however.